Title

Selenium concentrations in water and plant tissues of a newly formed arid wetland in Las Vegas, Nevada

Document Type

Article

Abstract

There is concern that elevated levels of selenium found in the source water of a newly formed wetland park in Las Vegas, Nevada, may have detrimental effects on local wildlife. In this study, we collected and analyzed water samples monthly for a three year period from the inflow and outflow of the system. We also gathered dominant aquatic plants and selected terrestrial plants and analyzed the water and plant tissues (root, shoot, leaf and flower) for selenium by high resolution Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer. Except for storm events and the introduction of an alternative low selenium content source water during summer low-flow conditions, selenium in the water was relatively stable. The concentration in the outflow tended to be slightly lower than the inflow. Concentrations of selenium in the dominant plant taxa in this wetlands were typical of ecosystems in the western United States and varied by taxa, tissue type, localized conditions (e.g., contact with selenium-laden water), and to a lesser extent, seasons. Selenium in the aquatic plant spiny naiad (Najas marina) was relatively high and may pose an ecological risk to wildlife during the late spring and summer. Additional work is underway investigating aquatic food chain accumulations of selenium as well as mass balance of selenium in the system.

Disciplines

Environmental Monitoring | Environmental Sciences